Grades 6 & 7
By Jennifer Wronkovich
We are no longer students in the new millennium. We are child laborers in the 19th century. Our lives are not filled with the Internet, e-mail, telephones, and television--not even running water! Each morning we are up before the sun rises. We work hard all day long and do not arrive home until dark. Our only free time is Sunday afternoon. What are our biggest concerns? What are our lives like? Let us explore child laborers as though we are in their shoes.
We have been reading two books in our class, The Diary of Anetka Kaminska by Susan Campbell Bartoletti and The Journal of Wong Ming-Chung by Laurence Yep. These books have given us two perspectives on immigration and child labor in the United States. Now we are going to learn what it was like for real children who worked to help feed their families. You will be placed in one of the three groups: farmers, factory workers, or miners. You will then research your particular job utilizing the web sites I have provided. What you learn will be presented to the class in a one day journal entry. Upon completion of your day's work, you will be 'paid' according to what type of job you completed. Remember, the harder you work, the more money you may make. Good luck!